The future used to be in plastics, but now it's cardboard. While you were in some office hustling to make an honest buck, a team of freewheeling thieves were raking in $1,000 a night intercepting cardboard left out for recycling... and recycling it themselves. Apparently, there's big money in those brown boxes, and now we're really kicking ourselves for not hoarding more. Yesterday Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced the arrest of eight men involved in the recycling ring; according to Brown they worked in two-man teams, stealing 1-ton bales of cardboard that companies had left out for private carters. That's unlawful, and the city has been trying to crack down on perpetrators for years. Speaking to reporters, Brown revealed that "for the price of renting a box van, each team could net close to $1,000 a night by bringing the stolen cardboard to a recyclable transfer station," Brown said. The value of recyclables is soaring these days, and cardboard's risen as high as $75 per ton! In June, an East Side grocery store manager was held-up at knife point for his cardboard, and cops later busted the thieves in a truck loaded with 37 bundles worth $5,550 when sold to recycling centers.